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Think Green When Purchasing Products That Accent Hotel Design

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This week I will be in Las Vegas at the Hospitality Design 2007 Expo & Conference. The event will feature numerous activities of interest to Green Lodging News readers: a Green Luncheon, sessions on sustainability and green building, and exhibits by hundreds of companies that consider their products green. I will be attending the sessions and speaking with as many exhibitors as possible during my visit. Please be sure to look for articles covering the Las Vegas event on the Green Lodging News website later this week.

Lodging design, I admit, has never been a topic that I have covered extensively. So, I am looking forward to learning as much as I can about what makes or does not make furniture, carpeting, wall coverings and other products environmentally friendly. The design sector of the lodging community deserves a lot of the credit for pushing our industry toward a more sustainable future. For years, numerous companies have made floor coverings from recycled content that can later be recycled, furniture from wood certified as sustainable, and paint that emits low amounts of volatile organic chemicals.

The next time you purchase the trimmings for your property—carpeting, furniture, linens, drapery, countertops, etc.—favor those products that have some green attributes. And, be sure to ask potential suppliers some of the following questions:

• Where is the product made? Is it produced by workers who earn a living wage? What are the environmental conditions in that factory?
• What percentage of the product consists of recycled content?
• Is the product recyclable?
• If it is recyclable and/or contains a hazardous substance (mercury, for example), have you established a take-back program for it?
• If the product is made of wood, was the wood taken from a sustainable forest?
• Does the product diminish air quality in any way? Does it off-gas potentially hazardous fumes?
• Were pesticides used on the cotton or other product ultimately used in the fabric?
• Were any potentially problematic chemicals applied as a coating to the fabric?
• In the case of products such as lighting, how energy efficient is it? Does it meet Energy Star standards? Ask for the numbers to prove it.
• Will the product contribute points toward Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification if I choose to pursuit that?
• Does your company donate a percentage of its profits to nonprofits working for the public good?

If the vendor is just about ready to slug you after you have asked these types of questions, it is time to move on—quickly. If the vendor understands the questions and offers to help educate you further about how responsibly the products were made, you may have found yourself a business partner—if the prices are right, of course.

Odds & Ends

Several weeks ago I wrote an article about high-efficiency toilets (HETs). John Koeller, technical advisor, California Urban Water Conservation Council and the National Alliance for Water Efficiency, wrote to inform me that 23 companies now manufacture approximately 130 HET models. HETs use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. Click here to access an unbiased report on the flush tests for different models.

In my article, I mentioned that in some states there are rebates of up to $200 per toilet available. John informed that in California, some water utilities offer up to $400 for HETs. John can be reached at koeller@earthlink.net.

A New Founding Sponsor

I would like to welcome Lodging Technology, Roanoke, Va., as a Founding Sponsor. Lodging Technology is a leading provider of innovative guestroom energy management systems. The company, an EnergyStar Partner, is the originator (1980) of infrared sensor-based hotel energy conservation, and provides direct sales, installation, service, and leasing options. Lodging Technology’s products have been installed in thousands of hotel guestrooms over the past 27 years.

GEM System Energy Management, and its optional features, provide substantial savings of 35 to 45 percent, increase profits, and improve staff response, guest service and security. The GEM System reduces energy costs an average of $120 to $180 per guestroom each year, with an average payback of 18 months and an ROI of 50 to 60 percent. For more information, call (877) 436-7978, go to Lodging Technology, or write to info@lodgingtechnology.com.

As always, I can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com, or by calling (440) 243-2055. I look forward to hearing from you.

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